OFW bares pricey ticket scam at Naia
Officials are investigating an alleged scam involving airport security men in which passengers arriving on international flights are duped into buying overpriced tickets for connecting domestic flights.
While Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) officials admitted that they had heard of the scheme before, this was the first time that the supposed victim—an overseas Filipino worker (OFW)—aired his gripes on social media.
According to MIAA Assistant General Manager for security and emergency services Jesus Gordon Descanzo, the airport’s intelligence and investigation division asked the OFW last week to identify the member of the Airport Police Department (APD) involved in the scheme. However, the victim did not show up.
Based on the OFW’s narrative on his Facebook account, he arrived from the Middle East around 5 p.m. on July 18 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) Terminal 1. Since he had to get to Terminal 3 for his 6 p.m. connecting flight to Tacloban City, he immediately looked around for a shuttle bus but found none.
The victim claimed that an airport policeman approached him and asked if he already had a ticket to fly to Tacloban. When he replied that he did and his plane was leaving at 6 p.m., the policeman called over a man whom he said would help him get to Terminal 3.
The OFW and his new companion boarded an airport taxi which apparently took the long route because they got to Terminal 3 at past 6 p.m. Because he missed his flight, he was forced to buy another ticket for P5,750 at an airline ticketing office recommended by his companion. But instead of an official receipt, the victim said he was given a voucher.
Since his flight was not until the next day, the victim was taken to a guesthouse where he met another woman who had the same experience. Suspicious, the OFW directly booked a flight with the same airline ticketing office for the same flight. This time, the ticket cost only around P2,200.
Descanzo said Monday that the OFW initially got in touch with the MIAA to file a complaint.
“He was supposed to meet with our case build-up team Monday last week and identify the member of the APD [who scammed him]. But he did not show up,” he told the Inquirer.
Descanzo pointed out that the OFW had also deactivated his Facebook account where he posted a narrative of his experience and even changed his cell phone number.
However, the MIAA has started investigating the airline ticketing office where the OFW bought the overpriced ticket.
“We are also checking if it has a business permit and authorization to operate from the national and local government,” Descanzo said.
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